Media Beat: December 01, 2017

Blood on the tracks: No more Vice for Rogers

Rogers Media Inc. has informed its partner Vice Media Canada Inc. that it no longer plans to financially support the Viceland television channel, leaving the upstart station's future in Canada uncertain.

The 24-hour cable network that formerly served as the Biography Channel relaunched in Feb. last year as part of a $100M joint venture between Rogers and Vice Media to make and distribute mobile, web and TV content for Canadian and worldwide distribution. Brooklyn-based Vice Media simultaneously launched Viceland, which offers a range of male-centric lifestyle programming, in the U.S. as a joint venture with investor A+E Networks.

Rogers owns a 70.1 percent stake in Viceland Canada, which is bleeding revenue and subscribers, according to the latest figures from the CRTC, the country's TV regulator. Viceland Canada posted a $2.49 million pre-tax loss in 2016, the last fiscal year measured, against a pre-tax profit of $236,938 in 2015, with overall revenue for the channel falling 14.1 percent from $6.36 million in 2015.

Rogers is understood to be looking to sell or shutter the loss-making TV network and is said to have given Vice Media warning that it wants out of the Canadianized version of the U.S. Viceland channel – Etan Vlessing, Billboard

Is celebrity gossip your ‘local news’? Ottawa seems to think so

How on Earth does giving a subsidy to a promotional magazine for a TV channel qualify as support for local media? The simple fact is that the fed's Aid to Publishers program mostly supports magazines, an industry that for the most part does not have a viable business model without public subsidies  Bob Cox, The Star

US radio giant Cumulus files for bankruptcy protection

Atlanta-based radio giant Cumulus Media has filed to reorganize in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with $2.4B in debt. It has reached an agreement with 69% of its term loan holders.

Cumulus’ pre-packaged restructuring agreement with lenders will reduce the company’s debt by more than $1B. The filing took place at United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Earlier this month, Cumulus defaulted on a nearly $24M debt payment to its lenders. The stock will continue to trade on the OTC (over-the-counter) market, where it moved after being delisted at NASDAQ last week. The company will also cease paying interest on bonds or interest that will accrue on bonds during its financial restructuring process, according to a post on the company website.

Cumulus Media owns and operates 446 radio stations in 90 U.S. media markets – Variety

iHeartRadio expands to Xfinity X1 platform

Comcast and iHeartMedia have announced a partnership in the US that will make iHeartRadio available on Xfinity X1, giving listeners access to more than 1,000 radio stations from across the country – directly on their TV – with custom artist radio stations, playlists, and podcasts. With the rollout already started to capable X1 set-top boxes, customers of both services will be able to use their voice remote to launch iHeartRadio or browse and select stations integrated throughout related sections of Xfinity On Demand. No word on if an equivalent service is to be rolled out in Canada, but if so the platform would greatly expand Bell Media’s potential in-home broadcast reach.

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